Sunscreen protection for car windows is big business in the Sunshine state

Automotive News | June 10, 2012 - 12:01 am EST

The photograph of a 68-year-old man who spent 25 years driving a truck could scare the heck out of any sun worshiper.

But it's scary even to those who think they're safe indoors, especially inside a car.

The photo, part of a New England Journal of Medicine study released this week, showed the left side of the man's face appearing significantly more aged than the right side, likely because of the ultraviolet rays entering through the truck's driver's side window.

One dealer in the Sunshine State has been confronting the issue for years.

"We do offer window tinting that protects you from UV rays," said Matt Buchanan, operating partner at Sarasota Ford in Sarasota, Fla. "We preload all of our new vehicles with window tinting since the sun is so bright in Florida."

The left side of this 68-year-old man's face is significantly more aged than the right side. He spent years driving a truck, where ultraviolet rays entered through the driver's side window.

Buchanan uses 3M Accents film that's applied in-house to all new vehicles. His store has been doing so for about seven years, he says.

He sells the option to used-vehicle buyers as an aftermarket accessory, he says.

"Customers sometimes ask for it, but not very regularly to be applied on their own, if they purchase a used car," Buchanan said. "They do like it preloaded on the new vehicles."

But some dealers in nonsunshine states such as Indiana don't consider window tint a hot item. One manager at a dealership there told me there's no strong demand for such a UV-protection product at his store.

I wonder if that might change.

This study garnered national attention, even landing on Facebook posts with some people urging others to wear sunscreen, even inside a car.

A savvy dealer could follow Buchanan's example, even using this study and photograph as selling tools.

Jamie LaReau covers auto dealers for Automotive NewsJamie LaReau covers auto dealers for Automotive News

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